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Parole denied for P.E.I. man convicted of sexual assault

Parole Board of Canada members consider systemic and background factors that have contributed to bringing an offender into interaction with the criminal justice system.
Matthew Leo Dunbar, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman he overpowered while two children were sleeping in another part of the house, has been denied parole. - 123RF Stock Photo

A P.E.I. man who was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman he overpowered while two children were sleeping in another part of the house has been denied parole.

P.E.I. Supreme Court Justice Terri MacPherson sentenced Matthew Leo Dunbar in 2019 to five and a half years in jail for the sexual assault, driving while prohibited and breaching his probation.

In a recent decision, the Parole Board of Canada denied Dunbar day parole and full parole, saying he would present a risk to the public if released.

During Dunbar’s trial, the court heard he and the victim were the only adults in a home in Prince County when he lured her into a laundry room, overpowered her and sexually assaulted her.

The woman had been keeping in contact with friends through text messages during the night as a precaution because she was nervous about having Dunbar in the home.

Her last message was a plea for help, the court heard.

In its report, the board said an assessment found Dunbar was at an above average risk to reoffend in a sexual manner. 

His criminal record consists of a variety of offences, including convictions for assaults, uttering threats, assaulting a peace officer and sexual assaults.

Dunbar told the board he felt ready for parole, preferring full parole so he could return to his community and work on his family’s farm.

He told the board he has reflected on the changes he needs to make and is confident he won’t drink or do drugs in the future.

The board noted Dunbar has a long history of using both alcohol and drugs.

In its decision, the board wrote that Dunbar established a pattern of criminal behaviour, including sex offences, that demonstrate the need for interventions to bring about changes that will reduce his risk of re-offending.

“Your sexual offences are particularly concerning as they speak to the types of offences you could commit, should you re-offend,” the board said.

While serving his sentence, Dunbar is on the waitlist for a sex offender rehabilitation program, but he hasn’t been able to take it because of circumstances beyond his control.

The board said it believed that if Dunbar was released, his pattern of behaviour would continue, including drinking and doing drugs.

“More importantly, the board believes you continue to present an elevated risk of victimizing further individuals as a result of being untreated.”

Ryan Ross is a justice reporter for the SaltWire Network.

Twitter.com/ryanrross

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